Special Feature

Take flight with Twitter

Whether you're a social-media novice or a hash-tag connoisseur, these expert tips will help you get the most from your tweets.

Sales & Marketing

A four-point strategy to gain followers

By Leah Golob |

Twitter can be an excellent tool to create brand awareness and, if used effectively, it can serve as free advertising for your business, says Alison Laux, marketing consultant at Allison Laux Consulting in Toronto.

However, creating an account and posting content only when the mood strikes won't do your business any good. To make the most of Twitter, you will have to develop a strategy for sharing content and building your network.  

Here are four tips for attracting users to your Twitter account:

1. Follow influential users you wish to engage
One of the most important components to developing a Twitter strategy is to identify the market you want to attract.

If you're an investment advisor, for example, you will likely want to engage with other advisors, clients and prospects, Laux says. Just be wary of aggressively approaching prospects online, Laux warns. You should not use Twitter as an opportunity to send sales pitches.

It's always helpful to connect on Twitter with news sources and industry experts that have large followings of their own. These sources can provide high-quality content for you to share, Laux says, and direct followers to your page if you engage with each other's content.

2. Advertise your Twitter handle
Not everyone will search for your profile on Twitter, so you should encourage your existing network to follow you.

"Make sure that every single communication that you use with clients or prospective clients includes some kind of call to action to follow you on Twitter or any other social-media accounts," Laux says. Include your Twitter handle on business cards, e-mail signatures and newsletters.

3. Post original and up-to-date content
Laux recommends posting original content or sharing articles of interest to your followers. If sharing a particular article, Laux says, point out to your audience why it's relevant. For example, you might introduce the link by pulling out an interesting fact or statistic.  

If you write a blog post, a newsletter article or a white paper, make use of the opportunity to share that original content on Twitter. Laux suggests breaking content into "sound bites" that you can share over multiple tweets.

4. Stay active
Twitter users sometimes forget that they need to keep their content up to date, Laux says. When deciding whether to follow you, users will often glance at your profile to see what your account has to offer. If you haven't tweeted in the last month, it's unlikely that your following will increase.

"It's a rule of thumb for professionals to tweet once or twice per day," Laux says. While many people use Twitter on their lunch break, you may want to try posting content when there is less online traffic, such as around breakfast time or in the early evening.

Less content will be online during those off hours, Laux says, so your posts may stand out more. Experiment by posting at various times of the day or week to see which works best for you.

This is the second part in a series on getting the most from Twitter.

Next: How to make your tweets more engaging.